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Saturday, November 18, 2006

But is it constitutional?

Ken Starr says it is.

So do Rick Bress & Kirsten Murray. And Viet Dinh & Adam Charnes. Our source is www.DCVote.org, by way of Voice of Utah.

This may be splitting hairs, but it is clearly constitutional for any state in the nation to draw their own congressional district boundaries. That is what we are doing. We aim to do it right and in the open, and have it done soon enough for the Governor to call us into Special Session on December 1st.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Phyllis Schlafly said...

Congress needs tutorial on the U.S. Constitution
By Phyllis Schlafly
Monday, October 9, 2006

Some federal employees are griping because a new law requires them to take a 25-minute tutorial on the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., sponsored this law, along with a similar law requiring every public school to "hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on Sept. 17," which is Constitution Day.

Byrd deserves our thanks for this great idea because most Americans, including public officials, are abysmally ignorant of the text and the meaning of our Constitution. The only thing the matter with his law is that he should have required a constitutional tutorial to be taken by judges and members of Congress.

If judges understood the Constitution, they would know that it gives government eminent-domain power to take your private property for "public use," and judges have no power to change those words to "public purpose" and then define an increase in tax revenue as a public purpose. The Constitution provides an amendment process, but judges are not part of it.

If former U.S. Rep. John Anderson, R-Ill., and former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., understood the Constitution, they would realize the time-tested superiority of our method of electing U.S. presidents by the Electoral College. Its rationale and structure are the perfect mirror of the Great Compromise that made our Constitution possible: the combination of equal representation of states with representation based on population.

Anderson, Bayh and associates in the Campaign for the National Popular Vote know they can't change the Electoral College honestly by passing a constitutional amendment. So they have launched a devious plan to get states to enact identical bills requiring their own electors to ignore the winner of their state's election and cast all their state's ballots for the candidate whom the state believes received the most popular votes nationwide.

This would be organized vote-stealing. It's ridiculous and un-American to try to force electors to vote against their constituents' wishes.

If current members of Congress understood the Constitution, they wouldn't be toying with a devious plan to subvert the District Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, clause 17), which makes clear that the District of Columbia is not a state or a congressional district, and that Congress is given the power "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States."

Our Constitution's framers decided on a separate and independent federal enclave to serve as the seat of the new government, a territory outside of and independent from every state. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 gave Congress complete authority over the district so that it would be insulated from undue pressures and interruptions.

This means that the District of Columbia does not have its own senators and representatives. That decision was not a mistake or oversight on the part of the Founding Fathers, but was an integral part of the original constitutional design to keep the seat of our federal government out of the political process so that it would remain the servant of all the people, and not become our master.

In the 1980s, the people who don't like our Constitution the way it was written tried to eliminate this provision by a proposed constitutional amendment to give Washington, D.C.. representation in Congress "as though it were a state." The "D.C. Representation" Amendment passed Congress, but it was rejected by the American people and died on Aug. 22, 1985, after 34 of the 50 states refused to ratify it.

The 23rd Amendment, ratified in 1961, is the 20th century's reaffirmation of the District of Columbia as a unique juridical entity in the American system. The 23rd Amendment allows district residents to vote for president and vice president like all citizens, and even gives them an electoral vote disproportionately larger than all but the smallest states.

That should have been the end of it, but some misguided members of Congress keep trying to end run around the Constitution.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., has launched a new attempt to bypass the District Clause by pretending the District is something that it isn't. H.R. 5388 would give the District a House seat by stating: "The District of Columbia shall be considered a Congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives."

Assuming that a representative from the District would always be a Democrat, Davis tries to make his bill palatable to Republicans by another section that would increase the number of House members from 435 to 437 and give the extra representative to Utah, a Republican state.

We urgently need more study of the U.S. Constitution to learn what is says, why it has survived for more than two centuries, and why Americans should defeat all mischievous attempts to bypass it with unconstitutional laws.

www.townhall.com

-----------------

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.

11/18/2006 11:44 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

US Constitution, Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

11/18/2006 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Dave Argyle said...

I haven't yet had time to do much more than skim the citations given that support the constitutionality of this action. But my gut reaction is that whenever people need to take 8, 14, or 22 pages of legalistic analysis to argue that the meaning of the Constitution is something other than the obvious, their premise is suspect.

In fact, these arguments sound like they come from the sort of "activist judges" that Republicans complain about so much.

11/20/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

The following is my response to someone's question on SLCSPIN. I am republishing it here because I am too tired to write something new, and yet I think we need to consider these issues. Please forgive my laziness.

-------------

Dear Anonymous,

Let me see if I understand you correctly: In response to most of the beltway pundit's assertions, that I have heard, claiming that a lame duck President Bush will not be able to get any major piece of legislation "THAT HE WOULD WANT" through this Congress, you come back with "passing a budget" and "renewing No Child Left Behind" as examples of things he would need to sacrifice the Constitution to achieve?

Wow! That's quite a trade off, isn't it?

I do not mean to make fun of you, my friend, but please try to remember that the Democrats also need to pass a budget. And, they already want to renew most of the provisions of No Child Left Behind. So, your argument is not persuasive.

And, in fairness to the all-wise pundit class, they are talking about LEGACY type pieces of legislation, not house cleaning items. They claim that the administration acknowledges that its legacy will be the War in Iraq. History, they say, will judge the President by what he is able to salvage from this immensely difficult situation. Thus, his administration is supposedly going to set aside any futile attempt to pass new landmark legislation, and focus its energies on stabilizing Iraq sufficiently to sustain a face saving withdrawal for the US.

These same pundits tell us that the Democrats also see such a withdrawal from Iraq as being where their mandate lies. Thus, neither will they entertain delusions of liberal grandeur in seeking to pass all kinds of Great Society type legislation.

Well, I guess we will see about that, won't we? Pundits are frequently wrong.

For me, where your argument has merit is in the fact that history demonstrates both President Clinton and the first President Bush supposedly defying conventional wisdom to compromise with hostile congresses. We remember the first President Bush being pressured into going back on his "Read my lips, no new taxes!" pledge in order to pass a budget with the Democrats. And, President Clinton ended up abandoning his socialized medicine plan, only to later pass major cuts in welfare with the Republicans. So, legislation of consequence is certainly possible for the President, but is it something "THAT HE WOULD WANT?" That is the question.

I personally hope that the President's tenacity, that you reference, is fully employed in resisting the unconstitutional piece of legislation seeking to grant both the District of Columbia and the state of Utah new seats in Congress. This horrible proposal creates precedent that is bad for America. Utah is part of America. Thus, the answer to your question is this: Utah does not need to rush to get a fourth seat in Congress so badly that it is worth sacrificing the Constitution. It would be better to simply wait until the next census in four years, and get that new seat legitimately. What little the state would gain in the short run would not be worth the damage done to our country in the long run.

Please forgive me, but your comment regarding the unfeasibility of Maryland reabsorbing the District of Columbia, demonstrates that you have very little understanding of the arguments against the proposed legislation. No one, like me, who opposes the bill on constitutional grounds, would ever make that suggestion, because such a plan would also be unconstitutional!

The framers of the Constitution had a terrible real-life experience that convinced them that the seat of national government needed to reside in a neutral zone that only it controlled, not some individual state or any other kind of local government jurisdiction. So, the Constitution provides for the creation of just such an area--the District of Columbia.

The only proper way to get around that requirement would be to amend the Constitution.

During the Carter Administration, just such an effort was attempted, but it failed. Within our system of federalism, the people spoke. The answer was "No."

Now, the current proposed legislation would try to achieve the same result, but by degree, and by going around the Constitution. First, the District of Columbia gets representation in the House. Once that precedent is established, there would be no basis for denying it representation in the Senate. Then, all the rights and privileges of statehood would eventually follow, step by step, because there ultimately would be no basis for withholding them.

But, that is not what the Constitution mandates.

And, I personally agree with the framers' original vision. The same dangers that existed in their day are also present in our own. Indeed, their provision may actually be more relevant for our day.

Remember the anarchy that manifested itself in the city of Seattle when the WTO met there several years ago? What if such a crowd came to the nation's capital, but unlike Seattle's leaders, the local authorities were actually sympathetic with the demonstrators and refused to disperse them? The nation's elected officials would then be held hostage to the whims of some local leaders over whom they had no control.

A similar thing happened to our founding fathers, and they wanted to protect the nation from that ever happening again. That is why we have a District of Columbia, instead of the capital of our nation residing in a state. It was a good idea then, and I think it is still a good idea.

Now, as for achieving some kind of representational justice for the folks living within the District of Columbia, that is another question. It may be appropriate for us to address their situation. But, we should do so only by following the proper procedures for amending the Constitution, and I further believe that we should do so without abandoning the framers original vision of having the capital located in a federally controlled district.

That is all I am saying. Dear Anonymous,

Let me see if I understand you correctly: In response to most of the beltway pundit's assertions, that I have heard, claiming that a lame duck President Bush will not be able to get any major piece of legislation "THAT HE WOULD WANT" through this Congress, you come back with "passing a budget" and "renewing No Child Left Behind" as examples of things he would need to sacrifice the Constitution to achieve?

Wow! That's quite a trade off, isn't it?

I do not mean to make fun of you, my friend, but please try to remember that the Democrats also need to pass a budget. And, they already want to renew most of the provisions of No Child Left Behind. So, your argument is not persuasive.

And, in fairness to the all-wise pundit class, they are talking about LEGACY type pieces of legislation, not house cleaning items. They claim that the administration acknowledges that its legacy will be the War in Iraq. History, they say, will judge the President by what he is able to salvage from this immensely difficult situation. Thus, his administration is supposedly going to set aside any futile attempt to pass new landmark legislation, and focus its energies on stabilizing Iraq sufficiently to sustain a face saving withdrawal for the US.

These same pundits tell us that the Democrats also see such a withdrawal from Iraq as being where their mandate lies. Thus, neither will they entertain delusions of liberal grandeur in seeking to pass all kinds of Great Society type legislation.

Well, I guess we will see about that, won't we? Pundits are frequently wrong.

For me, where your argument has merit is in the fact that history demonstrates both President Clinton and the first President Bush supposedly defying conventional wisdom to compromise with hostile congresses. We remember the first President Bush being pressured into going back on his "Read my lips, no new taxes!" pledge in order to pass a budget with the Democrats. And, President Clinton ended up abandoning his socialized medicine plan, only to later pass major cuts in welfare with the Republicans. So, legislation of consequence is certainly possible for the President, but is it something "THAT HE WOULD WANT?" That is the question.

I personally hope that the President's tenacity, that you reference, is fully employed in resisting the unconstitutional piece of legislation seeking to grant both the District of Columbia and the state of Utah new seats in Congress. This horrible proposal creates precedent that is bad for America. Utah is part of America. Thus, the answer to your question is this: Utah does not need to rush to get a fourth seat in Congress so badly that it is worth sacrificing the Constitution. It would be better to simply wait until the next census in four years, and get that new seat legitimately. What little the state would gain in the short run would not be worth the damage done to our country in the long run.

Please forgive me, but your comment regarding the unfeasibility of Maryland reabsorbing the District of Columbia, demonstrates that you have very little understanding of the arguments against the proposed legislation. No one, like me, who opposes the bill on constitutional grounds, would ever make that suggestion, because such a plan would also be unconstitutional!

The framers of the Constitution had a terrible real-life experience that convinced them that the seat of national government needed to reside in a neutral zone that only it controlled, not some individual state or any other kind of local government jurisdiction. So, the Constitution provides for the creation of just such an area--the District of Columbia.

The only proper way to get around that requirement would be to amend the Constitution.

During the Carter Administration, just such an effort was attempted, but it failed. Within our system of federalism, the people spoke. The answer was "No."

Now, the current proposed legislation would try to achieve the same result, but by degree, and by going around the Constitution. First, the District of Columbia gets representation in the House. Once that precedent is established, there would be no basis for denying it representation in the Senate. Then, all the rights and privileges of statehood would eventually follow, step by step, because there ultimately would be no basis for withholding them.

But, that is not what the Constitution mandates.

And, I personally agree with the framers' original vision. The same dangers that existed in their day are also present in our own. Indeed, their provision may actually be more relevant for day.

Remember the anarchy that manifested itself in the city of Seattle when the WTO met there several years ago? What if such a crowd came to the nation's capital, but unlike Seattle's leaders, the local authorities were actually sympathetic with the demonstrators and refused to disperse them? The nation's elected officials would then be held hostage to the whims of some local leaders over whom they had no control.

A similar thing happened to our founding fathers, and they wanted to protect the nation from that ever happening again. That is why we have a District of Columbia, instead of the capital of our nation residing in a state. It was a good idea then, and I think it is still a good idea.

Now, as for achieving some kind of representational justice for the folks living within the District of Columbia, that is another question. It may be appropriate for us to address their situation. But, we should do so only by following the proper procedures for amending the Constitution, and I further believe that we should do so without abandoning the framers original vision of having the capital located in a federally controlled district.

That is all I am saying.

11/25/2006 3:28 AM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

I am sorry, Anonymous. I wrote the piece above in a sleep deprived state, in the middle of the night, while attending a fussy baby. I apologize for the arrogant tone I adopted, and for my proclivity for run-on sentences. I’m not sure which is more annoying, but I sincerely hope you will forgive me.

Please remain engaged in the discussion. I want to hear and understand your side of the debate. Please respond to my arguments with more of your own. Eventually, we will understand each other. Until that happens, we won’t be able to accommodate our respective concerns. Thanks, my friend.

11/25/2006 11:38 AM  

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